Danielle Lorenz talks about her mental health issues
Danielle Lorenz, a dancer with the Staastballett Berlin, has a blog, Butterfly Diaries with many inciteful articles about the life of a ballerina. I was more interested in the depression that she had mentioned and I asked her if she would write about it in an article for my blog, which she kindly did and here it is.
I have struggled with mental health since 2013, the year I was diagnosed with depression. I was 18 at the time and had no idea what that meant, let alone how to manage it.
When the symptoms of depression first hit me, there was no particular event that triggered it. I just started to feel a deep and heavy sadness that exhausted me. I felt hopeless and like I had no control over my emotions. It become progressively worse until every day tasks became too difficult and overwhelming and I couldn’t do much more than lay in bed until it passed. Eventually, it did pass and I slowly started to feel happy and could get back to life as usual.
After a while, I had forgotten that horrible feeling, so when it returned a couple of years later, I was completely unprepared to handle it and it was even worse than the first time. Again, there were no events or reasons I could blame for this feeling. It just came out of nowhere and I didn’t know what to do. It got to the point where I was unable to go to work anymore. My mental state was so bad that even my body had become physically weak and I wasnt able to dance anymore. This resulted in me having to take 6 months off work and in that time, I spent my days in bed feeling incredibly empty and not having a clue how to help myself.
After finally recovering enough to get back to work, again the dark cloud began to lift and I felt good again. But since
then I have continued to fall back into this state multiple times, having a very dark period each year, usually lasting a few months. While I was away from work, I didn’t do much to help myself, mostly because I didn’t know how. I had been prescribed a couple of different medications that didn’t seem to improve my situation but what I really needed was to talk.
Being open about mental health
Finally after years of being stuck in this painful cycle, and with the encouragement of my family, I realised that I needed outside help. Now that I am able to talk about my mental health issues, I realise that I don’t know any good coping strategies and I have also discovered how beneficial it is to be open about mental health.
I am only at the beginning of my journey towards better mental health so still fall into the darkness sometimes. I experience a lot of anxiety and insecurity, and often have very negative thoughts that effect me in a very deep way both emotionally and physically. But at least now I am in a place where I can recognise the patterns and I can allow myself to rest when I know I need to. It’s hard not to feel guilty for taking time off, as it can feel as though I am falling behind and letting people down, but I have come to understand that just as we are all so different physically, we are different mentally and emotionally too, and there is nothing wrong with that. We have to take care of our own wellbeing, whatever that may mean for each of us.
Awareness of not being alone
Since opening up about my own mental health issues, I have also become aware of how many others experience similar challenges. It has shown me that I am not alone; that none of us are alone. If you are fighting any battles in your own mind, I am telling you that you don’t have to do it alone. There will always be someone to listen, you just need to take the first step and ask for help. I hope that in years to come, mental health becomes a much more talked about topic in the dance world and there will be more help available to those who need it.
Instagram – @daniellekmuir